Senate Approves $75 M World Bank Loan For Edo State

SenateThe Senate has approved the $75 million dollar World Bank loan for Edo State.

President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the Senate requesting the approval of the upper chamber to obtain $75 million credit facility from the World Bank for Edo State.

“I am writing to seek the consideration of the national assembly of Nigeria on approval of a request by the Edo state government‎ to obtain a $75 million credit facility from the World Bank,” the president wrote in a letter read on the floor of the upper chamber by Bukola Saraki, Senate President.

This is the second batch of the loan, as the first batch of 75 million dollars was earlier released for the implementation of the 2012 to 2014 development programme.

The Senate set up an Ad Hoc Committee on Local and Foreign Debts to consider the loan request and report back to the Senate.

Presenting the report of the committee at plenary, the Chairman of the Committee Sen Kabiru Gaya said the Edo State Government has reasonably justified the borrowing and has acceptable debt sustainability level.

However a federal lawmaker from Edo State, Sen Mathew Urhoghide, argued that there is a need for the Senate to verify some of the claims made by the state government on the usage of the first tranche of the loan.

Amaechi Says Rivers State Is ‘Under Siege’

The Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has claimed that the oil-rich state is under siege over the recent crisis that transpired in the state. 

Amaechi spoke while receiving the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration investigating the crisis in the state on Thursday, lamenting that the state and its functionaries were now under siege.

Describing the series of protest that rocked the state on Wednesday, the Governor said “yesterday, they were shooting tear gas into Government House. When we were meeting with the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) today, the Police claimed that it was inadvertent, that they shot tear gas into Government House. So, I asked one question, supposing, it was live bullet and it hit me, they said, ‘No, governor was not outside,’ but I said, I was outside, you can check.”

Also expressing shock at the sudden withdrawal of soldiers and Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) attached to Government House, the Governor alleged that commanders of security formations in the state have in the past two months not met with him on account of political pressures.

“We are under siege here. For two months now, we have not met with security men. Security commanders in the state don’t come to me any longer. They are either scared or they don’t deliberately want to see me.”

“They withdrew soldiers attached to me yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning, they withdrew the APC attached to Government House” he said.

Chairman of the Senate Committee, Kabiru Gaya, said the committee was mandated by the Senate to find a solution to the problem in the state.

“Your Excellency, yesterday, July 10, 2013, the Senate had a meeting or session where a motion was raised by Senator Magnus Abe on the situation in Rivers State. The motion was discussed. We had two hours in the closed-door session to discuss how best to sustain our stable democracy, how best we could have the legislators perform their functions without undue interference”, Senator Gaya said.

“I will also say the state was under the situation of violence, and there were disturbances in Rivers State. Therefore, this committee was mandated by the Senate to come and investigate, and also invite other members, including stakeholders. After this courtesy visit, we have to discuss with you (Amaechi) to know what happened from your side. We also need to talk with the Assembly members on both sides, including the Commissioner of Police, the DSS and the JTF.  We have already asked the Commissioner of Police to meet us this evening and DSS” he added.

Meanwhile the Army high on Thursday command denied withdrawing troops from Government House, affirming that the troops pulled out were not a component of the security infrastructure of the Government House.

 

 

2013 Budget: Senate Says No Plans To Override Jonathan

The Senate on Tuesday said it had no plans to override President Goodluck Jonathan over the 2013 budget.

Reacting to a statement credited to opposition lawmaker, Senator Kabiru Gaya, who had told correspondents that the Senate would override President Jonathan if he failed to sign the 2013 budget, the Senate spokesman, Enyinaya Abaribe said there is no rift between the Senate and the executive.

Senator Abaribe  said both arms of government have resolved the  issues delaying the signing of the budget.

There is growing discontent over the inability of the presidency to obey section 58, subsections four and five of the 1999 Constitution which gives the President 30 days within which he must assent to a bill or signify that he withholds his assent.

The Constitution further states that where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each chamber of the legislature by two thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall no longer be required.

President Jonathan is said to be reluctant about assenting to the budget which was forwarded to him on January 14 following claims that the National Assembly increased the budget by moving allocations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies to fund constituency projects.

President Jonathan was alleged to have, based on the promptings of a senior minister, insisted that corrections on the budget be made in details before his assent.

Besides, the President had at a meeting with the National Assembly leadership raised the issue of the benchmark and the non- provision of funds for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on account of the retention of Arunma Oteh as Director-General. The National Assembly leadership had politely declined the request on Ms Oteh and the benchmark, saying that the two issues were non-negotiable but agreed to look again at the mistakes in the details of the budget.

Legislators from the opposition parties had given their intention to initiate moves to override a veto should the President refused to give his assent to the budget by February 13 which made it 30 days after the budget was forwarded to him.

2013 Budget: Lawmaker Says Senate May Override Jonathan

An opposition federal lawmaker, Kabiru Gaya has threatened that the Senate would override President Goodluck Jonathan if he failed to sign the 2013 budget.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Mr. Gaya said the Senate would this week take a final decision on its next action as regards the budget.

President Jonathan is said to be reluctant about assenting to the budget which was forwarded to him on January 14 following claims that the National Assembly increased the budget by moving allocations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies to fund constituency projects.

President Jonathan was alleged to have, based on the promptings of a senior minister, insisted that corrections on the budget be made in details before his assent.

Besides, the President had at a meeting with the National Assembly leadership raised the issue of the benchmark and the non- provision of funds for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on account of the retention of Arunma Oteh as Director-General. The National Assembly leadership had politely declined the request on Ms Oteh and the benchmark, saying that the two issues were non-negotiable but agreed to look again at the mistakes in the details of the budget.

Legislators from the opposition parties had given their intention to initiate moves to override a veto should the president refuses to give his assent to the budget by February 13 which made it 30 days after the budget was forwarded to him.